Using Public Folders to Hold Company Contacts


Using Public Folders in Exchange 2000 to Manage Contacts


One of the most under utilized features of Exchange is its ability to host Public Folders, what we are going to explore in this article is how we can use Public Folders to create a centralized repository for company contact information.


The first thing we need to do is create a Public Folder that will be used to store our companies contact information:



  1. Open Microsoft Outlook
  2. Expand Public Folders
  3. Right click over “All Public Folders” and select “New Folder” from the menu, you will now be presented with the “Create New Folder” dialogue box.
  4. Name your folder, for this example we will call it “Central Company Contacts
  5. From the “Folder Contains” drop down list, select “Contact Items
  6. Click OK



The “Central Company Contacts” folder will now be displayed under “All Public Folders”.


Now that we have created the Public Folder, we can set the permissions on the folder so that only certain people can add, delete or modify the contents of the folder.


In Outlook, right click over the “Central Company Contacts” folder and select Properties from the menu.



  1. Select the Permissions tab, you will now see the current permission displayed in the dialogue box.
  2. We are going to set it so that regular users can only read the contents of the folder, so click on the Default name and then select “Reviewer” from the Roles drop down list.
  3. We do not want people that access our server Anonymously to see the folder, so click on the Anonymous name and then select “None” from the Roles drop down list, also clear the checkbox next to “Folder Visible”.

So, we have now setup some of the permissions, but we really need some people to manage this contact list for us, I would recommend we use a mail-enabled group to assign these permissions, we now need to create a mail-enabled group using Active Directory Users and Computers, I have already created a group called “Contact Managers”.


The permissions that you assign to the “Contact Managers” group will depend on what you want them to do, here is a table that summarizes what the different roles allow them to do:









































Role


Add


Delete


Modify


Create Sub-Folders


Nonediting Authors


Yes


Only what they created


No


No


Author


Yes


Only what they created


Only what they created


No


Publishing Author


Yes


Only what they created


Only what they created


Yes


Editor


Yes


Yes – All


Yes – All


No


Publishing Author


Yes


Yes – All


Yes – All


Yes


I have given my “Contact Managers” the Editor role, this will allow them to manage the contacts in the folder but not the ability to create folders below it




We have now created the folder and assigned the necessary permissions, the final step is to now make this folder act like its an address book for our Outlook users, all we need to do here is go to the “Outlook Address Book” tab in the properties for the folder and make sure the “Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book” checkbox is checked.




So, once our contact managers have entered contact details into the Public Folder our users will be able to use this as if it were an address book view when they send email by following these steps:



  1. When composing an email, click on the “To” button
  2. In the Select Names dialogue box, select “Central Company Contacts” from the “Show Names from the” drop down list.

Now that was easy, in the coming months we will be looking at other ways we can use Public Folders to improve the way we share information and communicate.

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